It's not every day that first-rate economists such as Paul Krugman and Berkeley Professor Brad DeLong offer the same economic advice as a knee- jerk Wall Street booster like Robert Novak. But that's pretty much what happened earlier this month, when all three men criticized Alan Greenspan for failing to lower interest rates amid mounting deflationary pressure.
Last fall, Williams Communications Group (WCG) looked like as good a bankruptcy candidate as any. The firm was supposed to make money by selling access to its 33,000-mile fiber-optic network to phone companies and Internet service providers. But a glut of fiber-optic cable had driven prices for that service down dramatically, while communications traffic was barely increasing. That left WCG's revenues at only a fraction of what had been expected when all its cable had been laid.
On its face, Attorney General John Ashcroft's plan, announced last week, to fingerprint about 100,000 foreigners visiting the United States each year sounds prudent. Since "fingerprints don't lie," as Ashcroft recently put it, fingerprinting visitors from Arab and Muslim nations should be a reliable way of identifying terrorists who would otherwise quickly disappear inside the country. In fact, until recently even liberals endorsed this logic.
It's probably fair to say that most of the people attending the New York State Conservative Party's fortieth-anniversary dinner last month came for one reason only: Vice President Dick Cheney. But if, like most of the journalists and half of the guests, they filed out of the midtown Sheraton ballroom shortly after Cheney's speech, they missed the most entertaining part of the evening. Around 8:30 p.m., after dessert had been served and all the VIPs had been introduced (from Al D'Amato down to Dinner Finance Chairman Sal Catucci), conservative patriarch William F.
For a period in March, you couldn't open a newspaper without encountering new evidence that the economy was on the mend. The long-suffering manufacturing sector was suddenly expanding; housing purchases had increased sharply; consumer spending was surging. And the economy was adding jobs for the first time in months. "GREENSPANDECLARES AN EXPANSION; IN A WEEK OF POSITIVE NEWS," read a headline in the March 8 Washington Post.
In mid-February the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) put out one of the several documents it generates each year. Under the headline "PRESIDENT BUSH'S 2001 TAX RELIEF SOFTENS THE RECESSION," the two-page report argued that without last year's tax cut, the economy would have shrunk much faster than it actually did. The study went on to make a few pro forma comments about "[increasing] the incentives for saving," and "reducing an important impediment to ... the overall accumulation of wealth," before noting that the tax cut would continue to work its magic in the coming months.
With ten congressional committees holding hearings on Enron, it's almost impossible for any one member of Congress to distinguish himself on the issue. But that hasn't stopped Senator Jon Corzine from trying. These days the freshman New Jersey Democrat sounds more like Ralph Nader than the former investment-banking pooh-bah he is.
Tried arguing against tax cuts lately? Tom Daschle has. And the results weren't pretty. The day after Daschle's January 4 speech explaining how as yet unenacted tax cuts might worsen a recession, he was promptly ridiculed for suggesting that "tax relief" had caused America's economic woes and for advocating a tax increase. As the president so eloquently put it, "There's going to be people who say we can't have the tax cut go through anymore. That's a tax raise."Daschle, of course, is right.
\t\t\t To date, the administration's line on what Enron means for campaign finance reform can be roughly summarized as follows: We don't need reform, in part because the perception of impropriety prevented officials from acting improperly.
Given the by now well-publicized lapses of its most notorious client, it came as something of a surprise this month when Enron's auditor, Arthur Andersen, passed its triennial peer review "without qualification." A release on the company's website does note three mysterious "issues" raised by the reviewing firm, fellow accounting giant Deloitte %amp% Touche, but adds that they were "not deemed significant enough to affect the opinion." The implication, as a Washington Post article on the matter concluded, is that "the investing public can have confidence in audits performed by [Andersen]."A mo